The one with the “réalisatrices."

By Didier Allouch, host of Rendez-vous d'Amérique

My dear francophiles, francovorous and francophageous friends, for a long time, I thought that the problem of parity and gender equality in the movie industry was a strictly American problem…

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As a correspondent in Hollywood, I covered the #TimesUp and the #MeToo movements. I even directed a documentary about them for the French TV network Canal+ called Hollywood(e). I loved working on it, with the feeling that you have when you know that you’re watching History unfolding in front of your eyes. It’s an important, essential movement. Things have to change in the movie industry on the question of parity. Heck, things have to change everywhere on this question.

But in my stories, I made a mistake. I was quoting the French system in reference. I thought, very naively, that things were better in France. Well it’s not quite all right…

Yes, it’s true that there are relatively more female directors in France than in the U.S. (about 20 % of the French films were directed by a woman in the last decade, 10 % in the U.S.) but besides that, the situation is about the same. No female at the head of any studios, only one woman won the Cesar for best director, no parity in terms of wages in the industry… So yes, it’s about the same as in the U.S.

But, like in the USA, things are changing on this question in the movie industry in France. In the next episode of Rendez-Vous d’Amérique, we have a story about the Sundance Film Festival that was held a few weeks ago in the beautiful mountains of Utah. This year, women were at the center of the festival. There were a record number of movies directed by women, some iconic women like the activist Gloria Steinem or even Hillary Clinton were celebrated and feminism was one of the most prominent themes of the movies in the selection.

Some of these films were French. You’ll know more about that watching the show since we met 2 of Sundance’s French female directors, but off camera, we talked with Ariane Labed and Maïmouna Doucouré about how it is for a woman in the French movie industry. And it’s not easy. What we read as statistic in an article or talk about in a TV news story, they have to live with it everyday.

So yes, I was wrong, the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the Atlantic… Parity is something everyone, women and men together, has to fight for, everywhere in the world.

We must all be ready to change the little and the big things, each on our level, we have to move in the right direction, to ask the right questions so that one day the question of gender equality won’t be a question anymore…

To learn more about female French directors featured at the Sundance Film Festival, tune in to episodes of Rendez-vous d’Amérique on TV5MONDE USA. Click here for more information.

Exploring cultural diversity entwined with Hollywood’s red carpets, Utah’s snowy mountaintops, and Louisiana’s serene bayous, Rendez-vous d'Amérique invites you on a journey to discover Francophone culture in America. Your host on this cultural experience is Didier Allouch - reporter, cinephile, and a familiar face at movie premieres. Click here to learn how you can subscribe to TV5MONDE USA and never miss an episode!